Mark Twain Tonight

( 2 )

Overview

Hal Holbrook's famous one-man show in which he plays Mark Twain comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original broadcast aspect ratio. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. There are neither subtitles nor closed-captions on this release. There are no supplemental materials of any consequence, making this Kultur release difficult to recommend to someone who does not already have an interest in the subject matter.
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Overview

Hal Holbrook's famous one-man show in which he plays Mark Twain comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer that preserves the original broadcast aspect ratio. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. There are neither subtitles nor closed-captions on this release. There are no supplemental materials of any consequence, making this Kultur release difficult to recommend to someone who does not already have an interest in the subject matter.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
This landmark 1967 CBS production established the so-called one-man show as a legitimate entertainment and educational medium -- and no wonder. In it, Hal Holbrook, then in his early forties, portrays an aging Mark Twain with such doddering charm and such folksy wisdom that viewers could believe a miracle has somehow resurrected Mr. Twain to tell one more story or two. One story tells about the night Twain got lost in a hotel searching for a bathroom, dressed only in a nightshirt. "I looked like an envelope with no address on it." Another tells about the politician who could talk for a whole week "without getting rid of a single idea." He says there once was a comely young lady with a disposition so gentle that if you had something she wanted, you could have it. During his performance, Holbrook wears a white suit, falls asleep, loses his train of thought, teeters across the stage between a desk and a podium, smokes a cigar (a habit Twain began at age nine), and coughs up anecdotes about a woman with a glass eye who lent it to another woman and about a missionary couple eaten by cannibals who later apologized to grieving relatives, claiming the meal was an accident. Holbrook went on to a distinguished career in motion pictures and television after his one-man show, first performed on Broadway. But he never did anything better than Mark Twain Tonight. That is not to say that his later work was weak; it is to say that his performance as Mark Twain was so strong that it was impossible to top it. Because the material in the production is timeless -- and Holbrook's performance nearly perfect -- Mark Twain Tonight will remain fresh and relevant for as long as people enjoy good stories and good storytellers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/30/1999
  • UPC: 032031189195
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Kultur Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Sound: Dolby Digital
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 17,031

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hal Holbrook Mark Twain
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Scene Index

Scene Selections
25. Scene Selections
1. Program start [:45]
2. Whiskey-train-long dog [3:18]
3. Smoke rings [1:03]
4. Half a gallon [:56]
5. The water closet [3:19]
6. Reporter & congress [1:31]
7. His grandfather's old ram [20:51]
8. A hymn book [2:15]
9. The silent lie [3:22]
10. Huck & Jim [16:00]
11. Lower than the angels [3:52]
12. Lynching [3:23]
13. The creator's pet [8:11]
14. Ghost story [6:49]
15. Hannibal boyhood [1:30]
16. Piloting at sunrise [2:49]
17. Gold rush [3:21]
18. 70th escape & Satan [4:50]
19. Mary Ann [3:56]
20. End credits [:58]
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Menu

Side #1
Play
About Hal Holbrook
Awards & Accolades
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mark Twain Tonight! - Is a fantastic sincere imitation of an American legend.

    Hal Holbrook totally inhabits the icon of 19th Century Americana in a way no one else could. From what I read in the liner notes he inhabits the character so completely after performing this one-man show so many years, he has learned how to improvise some sections. He does his impersonation so well you forget it's an actor in a performance rather than listening to the fanciful ramblings of the actual Dr. Clemens of Hannibal, MO in the flesh. He made me laugh without really saying something of consequence. He just had silly understated mannerisms. There would be no David Letterman or Jay Leno without Mark Twain laying the groundwork. Everyone wanted to know what Mark Twain's opinion was on almost any issue of his day. Even people who tended to disagree with his point of view still valued his opinion. America's court jester reminded Victorian Era Americans not to take themselves too seriously. He was a self-made man and found a profession quite well suited to him that did not exist until he created it for himself, mostly out of his lack of proficiency at anything else. I hope there are other copies of Hal Holbrook's ad libbed performances and I could purchase other routines not recorded on this live prime-time special on CBS. The act has evolved over the years and I doubt any other thespian could match his authenticity. Dry wit, subtle, thought-provoking, hilarious, & even though there is that classic Mark Twain disdain for convention, he does so without using any blue material. He pushed envelope other ways. A national treasure to behold!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews